Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
17 December 2014
What a day this was. Look at the water! It had rained so hard overnight at Eden Park the Auckland Rugby Union phoned the local radio station 1ZB and said to the public - 'even if you've got tickets - don't come.' They added, ' - the streets are flooded, the car parks are under water and the 48-hour rainstorm is not scheduled to stop!' But 45,000 fans said - No way!' They wanted to see the All Blacks play (maybe because New Zealand was wearing white jerseys?). The game went ahead and the All Blacks scored 4 converted tries for a 24-0 win. Scotland were lucky to get zero! Afterwards the All Black prop Billy Bush said with relief, 'thank goodness the referee (Peter McDavitt of Wellington) blew up any collapsed scrums quickly - someone could have drowned!' Never a truer word spoken! (Scroll down here - and on other pages here - for more of my favourite rugby photographs)
In Moscow the NZ Women beat Canada 29-12 to win their first world 7s final. An hour later NZ's Men's team beat England 33-0 for a great 'daily double.'
Auckland and New Zealand
41 internationals for N. Zealand 1977–85
A 2 metres (6ft 6ins) tall lock forward, at one time the tallest man to play internationals for his country, Andy Haden became a giant in the sport in other ways. He rose above early arguments that he was not aggressive enough to make a career as a top-class international forward, and by the end of his time in top rugby he was one of New Zealand’s great locks.
Haden had excellent lineout skills, was a solid scrummager, and around the field he often surprised with his mobility. As a captain and touring All Black he became one of the craftiest competitors in the game. Every Welshman will tell you how Haden ‘cheated’ to make referee Roger Quittenton award a last-minute penalty to New Zealand against Wales at Cardiff in 1978. The big New Zealander tilted and dived out of a lineout, giving the impression that he had been pushed. When the penalty – awarded for an offence by Geoff Wheel, not for Haden’s dive – was converted into points by Brian McKechnie, the All Blacks won the game by 13 points to 12. Years later Haden still has to live with Welsh criticism of his dive that day.
He first made the New Zealand team for the 1972–73 tour of Britain and France, but did not make the international games on that tour, and after being dropped the following year, he disappeared off the New Zealand domestic scene for a time. He continued to play rugby, but combined it with seeing the world, becoming one of the first truly global footballers, playing for clubs in France, England and Italy.
Back in New Zealand in 1976, Haden was chosen for the All Black team for the tour to Argentina where, under captain Graham Mourie and coach Jack Gleeson, he blossomed, playing in both the unofficial tests. By 1977 he was drafted into the All Black test team for his first official caps. Thereafter Haden was a regular choice for his country and he went on every tour on offer, except when business interests interrupted his rugby in 1983 and 1984.
Haden became one of the champions of players’ rights and he took on the rugby establishment in New Zealand. His attempts to better the lot of New Zealand’s international players led to misunderstanding and suspicion of him, resulting in charges of professionalism being laid on him by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union in 1984. He defended these successfully, though there were many who were not as convinced of his innocence in 1986 when he was part of the organising of the unauthorised Cavaliers’ tour to South Africa. Charges were leveled that the team took payment to play its tour and Haden, as one of the principal organisers, faced many questions on his return.
Haden played his final game for New Zealand in 1985 in Buenos Aires on the All Black tour that replaced the cancelled official tour to South Africa. He had accumulated 41 test caps and 117 tour matches for his country.
Why was the France v Ireland match of 1913 played in the morning in Cork?